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posted: 4/24/2014 12:01 AM

Why Kathleen Sebelius is a hero

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Why Kathleen Sebelius is a hero

My favorite hero growing up was the soldier who led the charge against the machine gun nest. This patriot was invariably mortally or grievously wounded. He knew his fate before taking the first step but was devoted to a cause bigger than himself.

To me, Kathleen Sebelius is such a hero. She took on a mission larger than herself. She knew that she would be ridiculed and reviled publicly and relentlessly by those with a financial stake in the existing health care system. She knew she would face congressional subcommittees and be badgered and insulted by willfully uninformed politicians looking for headlines. She knew she would suffer politically. Despite all this, she did it because she saw a cause larger than herself and led the charge.

She saw the need to reform a medical system that for decades has failed to maintain the health of our people up to the standards achieved by our competing large economy nations. Our infant mortality rate is higher than in our competitor countries and we live shorter lives than the people in these nations.

She saw the need to reform a medical system that for decades and has generated costs far in excess of the medical systems in competitor nations. On a per person basis we spend twice as much on health care as these other countries. As a percent of GDP we spend 17.7 percent; next highest is Germany at 11.3 percent. If we could have achieved Germany's efficiency in providing health care in 2011, we would have saved our people over $1 trillion dollars per year.

The result of Kathleen Sebelius' courage and devotion to duty is that many millions more of our people now have health insurance. She has served us well and is my hero.

Alfred Y. Kirkland Jr.


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